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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 21st October 2000
Issue No 202

Bonnie Prince Charlie Defended By New Book

Eighteenth century English propagandists were responsible for the image of Bonnie Prince Charlie as a "gay Italian dwarf" - when in reality he was really a fearless battle hardened soldier.

That's the claim in a book published recently, On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in which David R. Ross argues the prince is Scotland's most misunderstood hero. Speaking at the book's official launch, Ross said the Prince has been reduced to a shortbread tin soldier when he deserved to be placed alongside Robert the Bruce and William Wallace as a national hero. "Charles was a well built six footer who was an incredible marksman, an accomplished boxer and as fit as anyone in Scotland," he says. "However, history is always written by the winners, so he is portrayed as somewhere between a gay Italian dwarf and a lisping Frenchified dandy. "The truth is Bonnie Prince Charlie was a genius, a very hard man and an inspiration on the battlefield. Thousands of hardened Highlanders would not have followed him if they didn't think he was worth it." Ross claims Charles image was deliberately tainted to demean the Stuart claim to the throne. "We must remember the family on the throne today are direct descendants of the people who beat Charles at Culloden. Ever since the Jacobite risings Charles has been painted as a foreigner and an imposter." Ross has uncovered dozens of new facts, including how Prince Charlie's first taste of war was at the age of just thirteen and how he spoke English, French, Italian and Latin by the age of six.

Protection for Lochs and Rivers

New European laws will give Loch Ness and other local lochs and rivers added protection from pollution and excessive extraction of water. Industrialised areas, such as the Cromarty Firth will also benefit from the new directive which has now to be implemented by the Scottish Executive. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency's water chief Martin Marsden explained: "The new laws will protect the rivers, lochs and estuaries from pollution, removal of water and engineering works. "The removal of water is a particular problem because it causes rivers to dry up, whilst engineering works, such as flood prevention measures and changing small rivers into canals, can damage the river. Fish and other species are particularly vulnerable from this kind of work." The agency says people in Scotland are under the misguided impression there is a limitless supply of water and extract as they please. But the over-use of water from lochs and rivers is having a detrimental effect on the land. Over the next six years there will be the biggest environmental clean-up in over a century.

Cromarty in the 1930s

A new publication from Cromarty History Society looks set to be a local best seller - after more than 100 copies were snapped up on the first day recently. "The Cromarty We Knew; A walk Through the 1930s" by Eric H Malcolm is based on a popular series of talks given by the author between 1997 and 2000. Mr Malcolm was a pupil at Cromarty School - where his father was headmaster - at the start of the Thirties and a student at Fortrose Academy when Hitler's troops marched into Poland in 1939. The book takes the reader on a guided walk through the town in these years recalling the many shops and businesses, the crowded fishertown and the many characters who made their unique contribution to the daily life of the community. All proceeds from sales of the book will go to Cromarty Courthouse Museum. In the first instance, the courthouse will use the funds to purchase a number of items of "treasure trove" which have been allocated to the museum.

The Lord of the Glens

Running between Inverness, the Caledonian Canal, Mull and Oban, The Lord of the Glens gives tourists a view of some of the finest parts of Scotland. As master of the vessel, it has brought a change of pace for former Caledonian MacBrayne skipper Sam Hamill, who hails from Fort William. The ship started life named Victoria in 1985 and plied among the Greek Islands. Present owners The Magna Carta Steamship Company took over in Spain and ordered a radical refit. The vessel was cut and lengthened by around 13ft and also widened by two feet on either side. Now the British flagged vessel has a Class Three passenger ship certificate and can cater for up to 54 passengers on its week long cruises. The changes to the hull dimensions leave just 18 inches freeway on either side in some of the locks on the Caledonian Canal - and some of that freeway is taken up by the fenders on the side of the ship. Sam spent 10 years with CalMac where the priority was to get passengers from A to B, unloaded, and head off on the next journey. On The Lord of the Glens however, the pace is more leisurely with passengers often spending much of the day at a stopover visiting the attractions by bus. The Lord has just completed its second cruise with a roughly half and half mix of American and British passengers which has worked well according to Sam. The success of the season so far augurs well for the future and the vessel seems set to become a familiar sight from Inverness to the West Highlands - even of some of the canal locks are just a little tight.

Tribute to A Saint

A pilgrimage took place recently to honour a saint who brought Christianity to Wester Ross and Skye. A group of pilgrims gathered at the ancient shell midden at Sand recently unearthed by archaeologists. Then , after a blessing, prayer and psalm by a group of ministers representing various denominations, the pilgrims set off along an old hill track which brought them to the restored Clachan Church near Applecross bay two hours later. According to the Annals of Ulster, Maelrubha, Abbot of Bangor in Ireland, moved to Scotland and in 673 founded a monastery at Apurcrossan. If the date is correct it would give Applecross a very early place in the process of Christianising the region north and west of the Great Glen. Pilgrim Tokens made out of pewter - which entitle pilgrims to sustenance along their route from whoever they encountered - were bought by pilgrims. A feast was held in the evening in the Flower Tunnel situated on the Applecross Campsite in which ingredients were selected as having been available in the eighth century. Atisha McGregor Auld, who organised the pilgrimage on behalf of Scotland's Churches Scheme, said of the event: "The whole thing went very well and it was enjoyed by many people, not just the pilgrims."

Probe on Peatland

A party of ecologists from Eastern Europe arrived recently in Caithness for a tour of the area's famous blanket peat bogs. Their fact finding trip was part of an initiative to conserve peatlands in their home countries. The 24 strong group from 12 countries toured Plantlife's reserve at Munsary, near Lybster, and travelled to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve at Forsinard later. Both sites are in the Flow Country, which is in line to attain world heritage status. Many peat bogs in Eastern Europe are being exhausted through a mix of industrial and agricultural development, commercial extraction and pollution. The visit was hosted by Scottish Natural Heritage, as part of a three week initiative run by the Peatlands Biodiversity Consortium. Andrew Coupar, a peatlands specialist with SNH, said: "This is all about fostering an exchange of information and expertise. "In learning about Scotland's approach to peatland management and conservation, we hope the delegates will be in a better position to safeguard the bogs in their respective countries."

Pictish Monastery

A team of archaeologists have confirmed that a Pictish monastery flourished between the 7th and 9th centuries in Easter Ross. It is the first discovery of its kind in the North Highlands. And the man who led the dig, internationally renowned archaeologist Professor Martin Carver, predicted that the site at Portmahomack "will one day be as famous as Iona". Human remains, including those of men who died from head wounds, and other fragments, have corroborated evidence of a monastic site from earlier excavations. The team, from the University of York, had long suspected its existence. But only last year, in its fifth and last full summer excavation in the area around Tarbat Old Church, has it conclusively proved its theories. Team members are still seeking the remains of an ancient mill they are certain was used by the monks. Prof Carver also revealed details of this season's discoveries. He said the elements of the monastic settlement identified had been a church on the hill, with a burial ground. Excavated bodies in the burial ground were mostly elderly or middle aged men, which accorded well with the site being that of a monastery. The monks were buried in stone cists or with stones supporting the head and their graves were marked with slabs incised with simple crosses. The church and cemetery seem to have started around the 7th century, and towards the end of the 8th century magnificent monumental stone cross slabs were being erected.

Charity Event

Marie Curies Cancer Care charity has highlighted an annual fundraising event. This year's Millennium Munch Lunches aim to follow the success of last year's event which saw 29 people across the Highlands raise more than 3,200 for the work of the charity. Marie Curie nurse Rosemary Walker raised a total of 75 with her Munch Lunch. Friends and family who popped in for soup and a sandwich all made donations for the cause.

Political Roundup

Lib Dems on War Footing

Liberal Democrats in Scotland have been put on a war footing for the next Westminster general election by their leader. The alert was sounded by Jim Wallace, acting First Minister in the Labour Lib Dem coalition in the devolved Scottish administration. In a sharp attack on the Tories and the Scottish National Party, he said the Scottish experience had shown that a Lib Dem role in government made a difference.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Isolated showers/cloudy in the W, drier brighter in the E. Winds light/mod W-NW. Temperature 10c to 13c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy/isolated showers dying out in the W, clear spells in the E. Winds mod/fresh W-SW. Temperature 1c to 6c.
Sunday
Dry, bright in the E. Cloud and rain moving in from the W. Drier again later. Strong winds for a time.
Monday
Bright/sunny spells and frequent showers in the W. Drier brighter in the E. Fresh/strong winds, local gales.


Caledonia



This is Caledonia ( Caley for short ) A Ness-Scape family member and mascot. She is a White German Shepherd. Caley has decided to take over the editing of Nessie's Loch Ness Times, and she's sure she'll make a good job of it. What do you think?

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